WEST CHESTER (August 18) – State Senator Andy Dinniman cautioned Chester County residents to be on the lookout for telephone scams disguised as formal notifications from government organizations like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or public utility companies like PECO.

“Over the past week, constituents have alerted my office to an increase in suspicious and unsolicited calls targeting residents and especially senior citizens in the Chester County area,” Dinniman said. “I urge all Pennsylvanians to be wary of any unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information over the telephone or Internet.”

Callers may identify themselves as the IRS, claiming to have a pending lawsuit against you or demand payment or your personal information over the phone. Dinniman warned residents to never give out any kind of personal or banking information in an unsolicited call.

telephone-164250_1280“The IRS will never initiate contact by phone, e-mail or social media to ask for personal information or demand immediate payment. Nor will the IRS call you out of the blue about taxes without mailing a bill first,” Dinniman said. “If you have any doubts or suspicions about such a call, just hang up and call the party directly to verify.

“Your personal and financial information are all a criminal needs to steal your identity. Unfortunately, those who take the bait may find themselves spending months or years – and their hard-earned money – reestablishing their reputations and credit records,” he added.

Dinniman encouraged anyone who had received such suspicious calls to report to them local law enforcement or directly to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555. Those who have received suspicious phone calls from callers identifying themselves as IRS representatives should report the calls to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.

In addition, Dinniman advised residents who may be receiving any other unwanted telemarketing calls to register for the Pennsylvania Do Not Call List through the Attorney General’s Office online or by calling 1-888-777-3406.

Residents who want additional protection can also add their numbers to the National Do Not Call List, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, at www.donotcall.gov.

Once on the list, residents should also periodically check to make sure their enrollment is valid and up to date.

Residents who have enrolled on the Do Not Call List but continue to receive unwanted calls can also file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.

 

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